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Ellis Reyes Jan 3
I’ve tried fitting in to your world
and I’ve become old and sick and weak
I’ve respected your ways
and I’ve lost my own
Now, I’m watching myself die in this cage
No longer.
Barbarians create peace – through strength
Savages are fearless, relentless
Unrefined men speak truth
Coarse men value deeds above words
Unorthodox men are unrestrained by limited thinking
Warriors defend the innocent and uphold honor
These are my kin

And it is to them that I return
Ellis Reyes Nov 2020
My teachers say I have privilege
Because my skin is white
Does this privilege protect my family from
the bullets that fly at night?

They say I’ve
Unearned advantages
not given to other races,
If there’s a Black kid somewhere who wants my life
I’d gladly trade them places

They can have the ****** homeless guy
Sleeping by the door
They’re free to take the rancid trash
that litters
Our hallway floor
They can have the drugs and needles
the diarrhea on the stairs
They can have the hopelessness and misery
that I see everywhere

My mom works at two jobs
In the day and late at night
My dad’s upstate in prison
Locked up since I was five
Our apartment’s filled with roaches
and mice that sneak around;
the rats that move inside the walls
make a scratching sound

I wash our clothes in the bathtub
Cause the laundry’s not too safe
Our neighbor was robbed by **** heads,
they slashed him in the face

The mold around the windows
makes my sister sick
Every day I hear her wheezing
struggling for each breath
I worry how Mom would handle
another child’s death

Some days there’s food for us to eat
Some days there is not
The school food wasn’t perfect,
but at least the stuff was hot
Now the small bus brings us sandwiches,
string cheese and a piece of fruit
I wish they delivered on weekends,
We get hungry on those days too

If this is the privilege my whiteness earns
You can have it back
I don’t think squalor plays favorites
White, Hispanic, or Black…
Ellis Reyes Sep 2020
Who Are You?

You are the illegal alien who burns my country’s flag
You are the teenager who breaks my shop’s windows
You are the one in the hoodie who spat on the Veteran in a wheelchair
You are the **** who hit my daughter, the cop, with a brick
You are the one who firebombed the courthouse
You are the rioter who put me out of a job
You are the ‘demonstrator’ who vandalized my apartment building
You are the activist who looted the stores
You are the gunman who kills dozens of people every week in Chicago
You are the ******* who hobnobs with the rich and famous –
Because you are too.

I don’t care who you vote for.
I despise you for what you do.
A companion to "Who Am I"
Ellis Reyes Sep 2020
Who Am I?

I’m the neighbor who helped your son when he fell off of his bike
I’m the guy in the grocery store who gave you a five when you were two dollars short
I’m the driver who let you go first at the four-way stop because I could see that you were in a hurry
I’m the passerby who helped you load your car at Costco
I’m the man who greeted you at church
I’m the fellow who held the elevator as you rushed to catch it
I’m the geek who helped you with your computer at Starbucks
I’m the one who mows your grandma’s lawn and weeds her garden – for free
I’m the citizen who picks up trash at the park
I’m the old guy from across the way who returned your lost dog
I’m the anonymous donor
I’m the coach who believes in every kid

And you hate me because of a hat?
My first poem in awhile.
Ellis Reyes May 2020
Your eyes are weak
So you wander off
Your bones ache
So it hurts to move
You’ve lost your ripping teeth
So you chew in small bites
Your mighty voice
is now a feeble whimper

You are moments
Or days
from eternity


Until you cross that threshold

I will guide you
I will feed you
I will protect you

I am your tribesman
I can do no other
Ellis Reyes May 2020
You don’t need my help
You don’t want my help
But I’ll lie down over here
To keep the predators at bay
While you heal
or die
A note to a friend
Who is suffering
Ellis Reyes May 2020
I search for you
in my dreams

I see the people,
The places,
and things
That surrounded us
But you are not there

It doesn’t stop me from
Running here and there
Looking frantically;
Hoping for a glimpse
Of you

I ask about you and they point to
An address that doesn’t exist
An empty hallway
An impenetrable crowd

Are they helping me
Mocking me?

I press on


Your perfume lingers,
so I know that you’re here
A recurring dream
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